Writers

Going In The Wrong Direction

On an unrelated note, I ran this morning for the first time in two weeks.  Oh.  My.  God.  I felt every step and nearly puked twice.  Did I mention that once summer hits (and it has), the air turns to water around here?  I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep this up come June and July when the early morning temps are over 70, but I’ll do what I can.

So this morning (after the nausea inducing run), I cut a thousand words from DOTH.  I always hate doing this, but the first half of the scene I was working on yesterday was really just a rehash.  It had turned into a Little Darling, you see.  A moving scene between hero and his mom (whom I love).  But…it really wasn’t advancing the plot.  So…snip snip.

And then on the drive to work I sorted out the best way to approach the scene and spewed out a couple hundred words when I got here, just to keep it fresh.   So, win win.  There is a strong possibility that women will come after me with pitchforks for doing what I’m planning to do to this hero…

Over the last several years, I’ve developed a healthy respect for my gut because it usually tells me when I’m headed in the wrong direction.  Well, it’s a combination of my gut and my brain’s refusal to give me anything useful.  If I spend more than a day or so staring at a scene trying to figure out what to do with it, I’m usually doing something wrong.  It means some pruning back to the last thing that DID work, and then stuff usually sorts itself out in short order.

How do you know when you’ve gone astray from where your plot needs to go?  Do you have a gut sense?  Do you listen?  Or are you more inclined to muscle through to the end and then go back and fix it in revisions?  I’m always curious about other writers’ processes.

 

8 thoughts on “Going In The Wrong Direction

  1. I’m all about the gut myself. But I write differently. I write all the scenes I think I need. I write the whole 3-Act structure and I check to make sure all the scenes support it. THEN I stitch them together. You are way too organized to do it the way I do!!

    Congrats on that run. I’m completely impressed. 🙂

  2. I tend to go with my gut, but I’ve learned so much over the last year. With DARK, I had to go back and add stuff, rewrite, etc., because I didn’t plan out ahead. And because I’m the type that needs to write to SEE the issue. But with my new WIP, I had it 80% planned out. Or so I thought. But after getting the first act done, I realized some plot strings weren’t tying together like I’d predicted, and I’ve spent the last week or so trying to fix that. I know it my gut I have to change things and probably cut some of what I’ve written, and that’s frustrating. But I’m still learning:)

    Great job on the run!

  3. Definitely the gut knows. For me if I suspect things have gone off the rails for drafting, what I sometimes do is jump ahead just a touch to the next scene that I know needs to be in place, and work backwards later to fix things. I try not to fix as a first draft because it slows my momentum. Often as I’m writing a later part of the book, ideas hit on how to handle the waffle-y area from before and then I’ll cut and rewrite the scene when I’m ready to. 🙂

  4. Great job on the run, Kait! I am slowly getting back into running.
    I know I need to change things up when I find myself getting off track, sidetracked, if you will. I especially know a scene isn’t working if I sit and stare at the screen in a mindless fog like I just smoked a big joint. But I don’t smoke pot, so I kinda get a hunkering that something is amiss and I need to change the scene up.

  5. I tend to follow my gut, but I also see things through to the end, even if I don’t know if I’ll end up using them. You never know what brilliance may come out of the twists and turns of writing, so sometimes it pays to stay the course. That being said, I’m a “go back and edit it out in the second draft” kinda girl. It’s almost like I have to give every plot possibility a chance and then by the time I have one complete draft done, I know what works and what doesn’t. But 9 times out of 10, if I had a suspicion along the way that something wasn’t going to work, it doesn’t. Then again, I figure any writing is pratice that makes you better in the next time, so even if it takes you a little off course, you’ve lost nothing. And you never know where that little plot ramble may come in handy in a future work!

  6. I usually wait until the whole thing is finished. Then I read it again as a whole. When I’m working on something, it’s in little pieces because I only work on so much per day. But when it’s finished, the whole story is there and I can tell better whether something works or not.

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